SXSW 2015: Palma Violets x Vinyl Mag

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@vinylmag Instagram: Big thanks to @palmavioletsofficial for meeting up with us before their show at Holy Mountain! #vinylmagsxsw #palmaviolets


Whether it’s thrashing around on stage night after night or secluding themselves on a sacred mountain in Wales, Palma Violets knows that sometimes, it takes a little balance to make good rock ‘n roll. We sat down with lead vocalist/guitarist Samuel Fryer and keyboardist Pete Mayhew at South by Southwest to find out all about their much-anticipated second full-length album, Danger in the Club, and their upcoming US tour.

Vinyl Mag: How many shows are you guys playing here?

Samuel Fyer: We’re doing seven, which is more than last time. We came two years ago and only had five. This time we came with two and ended up with seven.

VM: We understand you worked really hard on the new album Danger in the Club.

SF: We really did. We worked hard; we really needed to. The first album was done in such a rush, in a month. We spent a lot more time writing and recording. We ended up with 20 songs after writing, demoing, and recording. The first one happened so quickly, because we were signed only after a couple of songs. You know how people say they have all their lives doing the first album, but I say we had more time doing the second one than we did the first.

VM: You guys were having trouble transferring back to the creative side after touring; what was that breaking point for you guys?

Pete Mayhew: It took a few months. There was a period where we had two or three songs for ages, and it was the pits.

SF: We were going to go on a US tour, and then we had two years of touring work, and we had no other songs. We needed to find a time to write some more together. We went to a house in Wales.

VM: Do you prefer the creative time writing an album, or touring and having fun?

SF: We do love touring. We’re made to play live, and that’s what it’s always been about since the beginning. It was playing to our friends in our basement, and now it’s constantly touring. I feel much happier within myself when I know we’re doing more and more for ourselves in the writing.

VM: Are there any significant differences between Danger in the Club and 180?

SF: The way that we wrote the songs are always different between every song, but it’s relatively the same process. We really said to each other to keep it young, to keep it sounding like music for our age. We’re not trying to grow up and write mature songs. That was the only thing we spoke about; we didn’t really talk about what direction we were going to go in ever. We just spoke about keeping it young and youthful.

VM: Because of the success of 180, did you feel pressure when creating the new record?

SF: Only internally, in ourselves. The pressure was trying to connect with each other again. Coming down and writing songs with someone you’ve been on tour with for two years is hard work. We never felt pressure from our fans and our label. Thank God we signed to the right people in the first place; we knew that was going to be a thing if we signed to a major label.

VM: Do you feel like the fact that the album was recorded in Wales has a reflection on the general theme of the album?

SF: I think so, yeah. The place was a very special place. It was kind of spiritual. It was on a farm, but the people that run it weren’t farmers. They grew vegetables, they had horses and cats and dogs. It was on the mountainside where the rocks were taken to form Stonehenge, the cliff there. It’s ancient land and sacred.

VM: Would you call the album tranquil then?

SF: It got us writing about London and what we experienced on the road. Lots of the album is about America. Although people may think it’s a cliché, we’re not saying how great America was. We’re just thinking about having fun with our thoughts. “Danger in the Club” is a very British song. It made us fall in love with the English countryside and what it is to be British being in Wales.

VM: Are you singing a lot of the songs off the new album here?

SF: Yeah! Even the ones we don’t know how to play live yet. We’ll be giving them a go, because this is SXSW. If we came back and played the same set again it’s not going to work out.

VM: What’s the biggest difference for you between festivals in the US from Europe or concerts in general?

SF: Festivals do seem to be quite commercialized over here, even though they are in the UK. They’ve still got the core campfire feel over in the festivals in the UK that I did love even before we went to festivals in a band. Over here, they are quite a bit different.  Like, they’ve got a bit more investment involved. We haven’t played many though, but we’re going to play some more.

VM: So you guys are going to try and do some stuff in the US this summer?

SF: Yeah, we got a tour booked just now, a month long tour just after the album comes out. We’re going to go to a bunch of places we’ve never been. I think besides the tour, we got ourselves booked to play New Orleans on Halloween. I’m very excited about that.

PM: New Orleans is a lovely place. It still has that original feeling.

VM: What are you most excited to see while you’re here; are there any bands you haven’t seen before?

SF: We had a quick look at the lineup yesterday, but there are just so many bands, you can’t find anyone you know.

PM: We’re going to actively try to see a lot of shows from bands we haven’t seen or heard before. That’s kind of the whole point of South by. We’re going to try to catch Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

VM: What’s your favorite venue to play here?

SF: We like Mohawk. We’ve only seen five of them so far; there are so many. We’re not repeating any of the venues from last time.

PM: We’re happy to be in an actual venue at SXSW. Last time, we did a show at bicycle shop, and it was dreadful, so if it’s a venue we’re just happy it’s a real venue.

VM: Are you a barbeque joint or food truck person?

SF: Barbeque joint. Barbeque. I had the best ribs I’ve ever had a few days ago in San Antonio. We had just gotten off the plane. It’s called the Big Bib. They made their own sauces in the back, and we like sauces. It was really nice.

VM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

SF: We are coming back to America in the middle of May. Buy the album; it’s worth it!

*Palma Violets new album Danger in the Club drops May 4, and you can catch them live at Shaky Knees in Atlanta May 8-10.

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  1. Pingback: Five Artists to Watch: Shaky Knees Edition – Vinyl Mag

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